In Memory...

Hugh DeMoss

1931—2003

Delivered by Russ Neds at Hugh DeMoss’s Memorial Service

11-24-2003:

 

Hugh DeMoss had a special gift—Passion.  Passion for making life better and easier.  A passion for his family, a passion for golf, and a passion for his community.  Since 1952, when DeMoss came to Columbus, he reported the news for TV 4, taught news at Ohio State, and made news in public life.  In one way or another, he touched everyone here.  But when the cameras were turned off and the political run was over, it created a huge void.  One that even golf couldn’t totally satisfy. January 29th, 1997 was a great day for DeMo, he turned 65.  What a happy day when he got his Medicare card.  He was officially a senior citizen.  He quickly recognized various senior concerns including quality healthcare and the dilemma of medical paperwork.  It was a cause and a venue that fascinated him and it kindled yet another passion.

I own Seniors Servicing Company.  Since 1986, our main focus is to help people with their medical expenses and insurance benefits.  Hugh and I were “golf buds” for over 25 years and close friends for the last 10.  And though he knew about the assistance my company offered to people, it took on new value when he became a senior himself.  He joined our team to, again, become an advocate for the people.  His official title as Seniors Servicing was Marketing Director but his role and involvement was significantly more than that.  Seldom did a letter or ad escape his red pen.  We frequently would do public service speaking engagements.  If the weather was nice that day, it was off to the golf course immediately following.  A change of clothes was always in the trunk.

 

Having reported the news, taught news, and made news, now he wanted to spread the news about a service the offered his fellow seniors peace of mind.  And it quickly became a passion for him.  As a way of creating a common bond, he would freely discuss his own health issues.  Just as TV 4, Charity Newsies, Vets Memorial and the Commissioner’s Office gave him the opportunity to connect in years past, his role at Seniors Servicing kept him connected.

 

But DeMo himself would tell you that line 1on his job description would always be “get tee-times”.  Golf was not only a passion, it was a true love.  He would join up and play with anyone—or no one—but once or twice a week, we had our regular foursome.  Let me paint the picture for you.  Frankie is 85 and doesn’t hear very well, so it constantly seems like a shouting match on the course, but Frank always brings the cookies!  Jim is famous for girdles, belts, braces and duct tape for his ailing back and knees.  Danny and Mark are the flat-bellies and we always make them play from the tips.  I have a torn rotator cuff.  So, rather than hit a 3 wood that hurts, I’ll hit an 8 iron 2 or 3 times that doesn’t hurt.  And I can’t see the damn ball past 50 yards.  And DeMo, with his congestive heart disease, would get winded walking from the cart to the tee or green, yet he’s a straight 190 off the tee. 198 if he really catches it.  What a group.  It was non-stop entertainment and great therapy for all of us.

 

Tuesday, 2 weeks ago, was the last time he and I played.  It wasn’t the best of days weather wise—cloudy, cool and breezy.  But golf usually beat most things we could be doing.  We reached #15 Gray at OSU, a hefty par 5 and now into the wind.  His drive was 190 yards.  A 3 wood of 170 followed.  Another 170 3 wood left 20 yards to the pin.  A sand wedge left him a foot away.  It began to drizzle.  He walked up, tapped it in for par and said, “that’s as good as it gets—now let’s get the hell out of here.”  There may be 1 or 2 words different in that statement.  Appropriately, it was Veteran’s Day.  November 11—how ironic.  1111, 4 aces in Vegas.  He’ll always be aces with us.

 

And speaking of aces, DeMo had his one and only on Wednesday, September 17, 1998.  It was OSU Scarlet #13, 155 yards.  He nailed a 5 iron, one bounce and in.  He an I could hardly believe it.  Fortunately, Judge Metcalf and Judge Belskis witnessed it.  That made it official.  There’s no doubt he will forever be sadly missed and fondly remembered.